OREM, Utah – One run in the first inning was all it took for BYU softball to win the 1-0 shutout over Utah Valley on the road Wednesday afternoon.
“I’m proud of McKenna, she did a nice job,” BYU head coach Gordon Eakin said. “Our defense played solid. It was a hard-fought, defensive game.”
This was the lowest scoring game between these schools in their series history, the lowest since BYU lost 3-1 in Orem back in 2006. BYU (24-17, 1-2 West Coast Conference) had just one run despite leaving runners on base in every inning except for the sixth. The Cougars have shutout the Wolverines (6-33, 2-7 Western Athletic Conference) in the two games this season. The eight walks are tied for the most in a game this season for BYU.
McKenna Bull moved up to fifth place for strikeouts in a single season at BYU after increasing her total to 217 with six strikeouts today. She allowed two hits and four walks in her 18th win of the year. The lone RBI in the game came from Libby Sugg, increasing her season total to 41.
BYU jumped out to an early lead in the top of the first. With runners on first and third, Sugg singled to left field to bring in Gordy Bravo, going up 1-0. Two strikeouts from Bull in the bottom of the first kept Utah Valley from responding.
Despite a runner on second in the following inning, three-straight outs kept the Cougars from increasing the lead.
After a Wolverines’ pitching change in the third, the Cougars’ first two batters were grounded out, but the following three were walked to load up the bases with two outs in the third. However, Caitlyn Larsen flied out to left field to stop the potential barrage of runs.
In the bottom of the third, BYU turned a double play for the ninth time this season, gunning out the runners at second and first. Bull struck out the third batter to end the inning. In the next inning, UVU had a double play of its own to leave BYU with one left on base in scoring position, keeping the score 1-0.
Once again, the Cougars left a runner on base in the fifth-consecutive inning after Ashley Thompson was left stranded on second base in the top of the fifth. In the Wolverines’ turn at bat in the inning, Brianna Gatlin got the first hit for UVU on a single to centerfield. Thompson snatched a line shot heading down the right field line to end another scoreless inning for both teams.
The Cougars got into trouble in the bottom of the sixth with runners on second and third with two outs. However, the defense held strong to keep the Wolverines runless. The final inning went three up, three down for Utah Valley, allowing Bull to get her seventh shutout of the season.
BYU will host Saint Mary’s this weekend with one game on Friday and a doubleheader on Saturday. The first game will be live on theW.tv and the doubleheader will be on BYUtv and BYU Radio.